Monday, February 27, 2017

With Elder Bassett in Uberlândia!

Wednesday we went to Uberlandia for a meeting with half of the mission, Presidente and Sister Buhrer, and ELDER BASSETT OF THE Quorum OR THE SEVENTY AND HIS WIFE! It was an incredible meeting and quite a privilege to be visited by a Seventy for the second time in three months.

Uberlandia is three hours west of Patos de Minas, and we arranged to rent a van to go there. We woke up at 4 a.m. to meet up with the driver and pick up the other missionaries. They fact that we had contracted a transportation company assured me that there wouldn’t be any problem. NOT! The driver arrived 30 minutes late, didn’t know the route, and didn’t have a GPS to guide him. I offered several silent prayers that he would put more pressure on the pedal and that we could somehow make it to the chapel in Uberlandia.

We were supposed to arrive at 8:30 because the meeting started at 9. After a ton of calls to the zone leaders of Uberlandia and another ton of quick stops along the road to ask the locals for directions, we arrived at 9 or a minute or two later.

I was really excited for the meeting because we would get to meet E. Bassett, who is the new second counselor in the Presidency of Brasil, and of the 50 or so missionaries that would be there, five would have an interview with E. Bassett and I was one of the them!

We rushed in and Presidente Buhrer said to me “You’re late and you won’t be able to have your interview.” My heart sank into my stomach.

I was so excited for my interview and was looking forward to it so much and the sudden realization that it wouldn’t happen caused me a sinking feeling.

I realized in an instant that I really was all the driver’s fault and that I could quite easily “ficar braco” with him. I took the decision in that same second  to do exactly what Jesus would=be patient and forgiving. I was a little devastated, but II didn’t fuel any negative feelings toward the driver. It would have been so easy, but I wanted to grow up.

We got ready to take a picture with everyone and Elder and Sister Bassett. President Buhrer called me over and led me to have my interview. He had joked with me about losing my interview! (President Buhrer is hilarious …). I was so glad that I had decided to choose the right and not get irritated.

The interview was great! More of like a conversation really. Elder Bassett talked with me in English, hahaha . It turns out his parents live in Buchanan! (note from mom: Scott didn’t know about the connection beforehand!) That was a neat connection; it’s a small world. He gave me the advice: “Be the missionary your mom thinks you are.” I will strive to always be.

In the meeting Sister Buhrer and Presidente spoke and then Sister Bassett talked about how obedience equals happiness. She and Elder Bassett have been in Brasil for 6 months and only had known English and Spanish before.  They’re making a lot of progress in speaking Portuguese, and it was cool to remember how it was for me a year ago.

Elder Bassett gave a great training for the last two hours of the meeting about Christ and of Heavenly Father, how love is the great commandment, and how sacrifice is how we can come to “conhecer” Jesus Christ (this was a big inspiration for me) and is a privilege. It was fantastic and spiritual. I learned a ton!

After a great lunch we had a leadership meeting with him. He said we could ask him any question and so I asked: “What is it like speaking in General Conference?” I had loved his conference talk in October. He told us all about it! He talked about how as leaders we are called to comfort and help others and gave us some valuable pieces of advice. Because I’m from the same stake as his parents, he took a picture with me! Mom and Dad, I hope he found a way to send it to you! It was an awesome meeting and a great day.

Patrícia was baptized on Tuesday! There were a lot of people at the baptism, including José Carlos! She wasn't confirmed on Sunday because she didn't come to church (usually goes with her sister who was out of town), but this week we'll make sure all goes well for her to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and be confirmed as a member of the church.

José Carlos is progressing really well. He realizes that changing his religion will be a big step in his life, but he's willing to take that step. We watched the Restoration with him this week, bore our testimonies, and he talked about how he is searching for an answer as to the truthfulness of the church. Afterwards he gave us some incredible pão de queijo!

Today was a great P-Day! We played cards with the 10 elders in the zone and then went and played a bunch of volleyball. Vólei é bom demais! A fun thing from this week: Coca-Cola (Brazilians drink it more than Americans, way more!) has been prohibited in the mission since before I got here. Even Presidente didn't drink it. This week Elder Bassett drank Coca at lunch with the missionaries in Goiânia and then Presidente allowed it for the whole mission. Today we bought two 3 liters bottles and brought them to the house in the area Patos where we met up with the zone and announced the surprise. Everybody went crazy!!!!! Hahahaha it was great.

Brasil is awesome and this mission is the best! I'm now reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish.

Elder Anderson

 With Elder Bassett 
 Patricia's baptism! 

 This is a huge mango
 At the supermercado
 Hall's is candy here
 Uns bons bon-bons
 We had a baptism today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 It's now legal kkkkkkkkkk (Note from mom: Though we don't drink sodas much at home, especially ones with caffeine in them, in Brasil, water is not safe to drink. They drink sodas ALL the time or other juices. It's not great for the body, but beats getting sick from the water.....
 Com os elderes de ramo Patos
Na rua

Monday, February 20, 2017

Conversão (Conversion)

By study I learn a lot about conversion to the gospel. The Bible, the Book of Mormon, and Preach My Gospel are great sources of inspired words on the subject. This week I learned about conversion in another way—I saw it.

I clearly remember the first time E. Gomez and I taught Butima (Edson). He had already received a few lessons, and this time we invited him to be baptized. He replied “Sou Muito de igreja nao”. (I don’t really like going to church). We continued teaching him and a few weeks later he was baptized (on Christmas Eve!). At first he came to church with a t-shirt and his famous work boots (that’s where he gets his nickname).

Yesterday night we were having a meeting with the district leaders and someone knocked on the door. It was Butina. He had just finished attending church for the second time that day (our branch is in the morning and there’s another in the afternoon) was dressed in a white shirt, tie, and dress shoes, and asked me when he could visit people with us during the week.

That is conversion! In two months he went from uninterested to active and eager to serve in the church. The friend who initially brought him to church stopped coming for a few Sundays and Butina went to his house and dragged him to church yesterday. It’s amazing to see how the Lord changes people’s lives as they “yield their hearts unto God” (Helaman 3: 35).

It’s been a great first week working with Elder Ward. The sisters in our branch were both transferred and now we’re the only missionaries in the branch. Our teaching group has about doubled and we were really busy this week as a result, we were running from one end of the area to another, preaching the gospel in the hot sun of Brazil, helping people to accept the restored gospel, and loving it.

I really like having an American companion. There’s so many thing that never made sense to other companions, like the American educational system, football, and snow, but E. Ward understands it all haha. He’s from Tacoma, Washington.

We’re going to have a baptism this week! Patricia, a member’s sister whom the sisters were teaching, will be baptized tomorrow! Pray that it all goes well!

A large part of our teaching group consists of people who are interested in the church and what we teach, but won’t be baptized quickly because they want to thoroughly analyze their decision. I like teaching people like this, who keep commitments and really search to know the truth.

Jose Carlos went to church again this week, and it was another great church meeting. The branch had 76 people in sacrament meeting and is steadily growing. I really like this area.

I’m so grateful to be here in Brasil, fulfilling my duty to God and serving with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. I realized every day that I’m not perfect, but I have hope that I’ll become more and more like Christ as I continue to serve him.

I did 103 push-ups today. That’s a new record. Woohoo!

Elder Anderson

Água com Gás! I used to hate it but now I find it pretty dang good.
  Torre de Passatempo!

  Frying eggs: a daily task

 (The majority) of our zone at the last meeting of the last transfer
  ESTA GRAVATA É UMA LENDA (This tie is a wore it as Bishop)

  Tchau, Tabasco Sauce. It was incredible while it lasted.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Faloouuu Elder Brandão!

Elder Guzman, who was part of my MTC/CTM group, is currently about to get his hair cut and while I’m waiting I’m writing this. I’ll be with him for 1 or 2 days because Elder Brandao left last night for Goiania. Tuesday he gets on a plane to go home! While finishing packing his bags he asked me yet again for my football (he’s wanted it ever since we were companions). Reluctantly I handed it over to him as he got in the car of the member who took him to the bus station ON THE CONDITION that he would send me a porcelain cuia—a special type of cup/mug used to drink chimarrao. I hope he fulfills his part of the deal because if he doesn’t I’ll be pretty ticked. I already miss my football!

Speaking of football, I got pretty sad when I heard about the Super Bowl. BUT I’m happy the Falcons made it and am sure we’ll win it next year.

I’m going to get my hair cut too. Contrary to my younger years, I now far prefer short hair.

Just about every day I’ve been eating bread and eggs for breakfast. With Tabasco sauce it’s pretty good Wait a second, I’m calculating…It costs me less than 5 US Dollars a week. That’s a great blessing of the mission—you learn how to live poor! When I’m a broke college student it won’t be anything new. Actually, I’ll feel like a king because I’ll be in the US and will therefore have air conditioning and carpet!

I’ve thought a lot recently about the following: I want to conhecer Jesus Christ, not just Saber about Him. I really like Portuguese because in English it’s not easy to express that. It’s a life-long process, but I hope and pray that I can conhecer my Savior much better by the end of my mission.

Inspired by a conference talk by President Eyring, I’ve started praying fervently to find, teach, and baptize families. That’s a profound desire that I haven’t yet had the opportunity to fulfill during my mission. I’m going to work, fast, and pray with diligence so that I will be an instrument in the Lord’s hands to help a family start the beautiful path to eternal life and if it doesn’t happen, at least I’ll know that if wasn’t for lack of effort on my part.

E. Brandao and I taught a man called Jose Carlos since early in the transfer. I don’t think I’ve written about him yet, but teaching him has been a neat experience. At first he was petty 'duro’ but as we continued teaching him we became great friends with him and his wife, Vania, he read through Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, and we visited him with the branch president. This Sacrament meeting was great. The four speakers were the four missionaries, and the topics were faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. I gave the talk about the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was great! Gospel principles was also about the Holy Ghost which combined well. I think José Carlos liked the church and thought it was a good kind of different.

This was a fast week, and I'm excited for the next. It'll be the first of the new transfer. I received the information less than an hour ago that my new companion will be E. Ward! He's already here in Patos and I've liked going on exchanges with him. It'll be a good transfer here in Patos.

Elder Anderson

 At church with José Carlos
  Every day's breakfast
It's going to be a great day of work!
 Tchau E. Brandão! (Mande-me a cuia! kk)
 With E. Guzman after our haircuts, and with the cabelereiro (barber)!
 Missionaries at the bank: Elder Guzman e Elder Anderson
 Elder Benjamin
 Elder Ward 
 Downtown Patos de Minas

Taking a shortcut through the mato

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Few Days In Goiania

Alo galera! Como estao voces? Estou com saudade. Senti muito feliz esta semana por estar aquí na missao.

Hello everyone! How are you all? I miss you guys. This week I was really happy—I love being a missionary!

Tuesday night E. Brandao and I packed up and headed to Goiania for the monthly leadership meeting. When we travel between Goiania and Patos we get on the bus at night and have to try to sleep until we get to the destination around 4-6 o’clock in the morning. It’s a pretty tiring trip. Going to Goiania this week wasn’t bad because I actually slept pretty well. On the way back I didn’t, however, and it was pretty terrible haha.

The leadership meeting was great. President Buhrer spoke a lot about repentance. He also spoke about how we measure our work and the new daily schedule. So far I’m really liking the new schedule. There’s more time in the morning and at night to prepare for the day and for bed so we’re not running around like decapitated chickens anymore as we strive to obey the routine.

The assistants gave training on how to find people to teach and how to follow up effectively, and at the end of the meeting, Pres. Buhrer asked the going-away missionaries to bear their testimonies. E. Brandao was one of them. It’s been crazy being companions with two missionaries in a row who are in their last transfer! It’s been good working with E. Brandao the last month or so.

We stayed in Goiania for 2 more days, going on exchanges with the assistants to the President, E. McBride and E. Gorman. They’re two of my great friends in the mission and I clearly remember when they arrived in the mission field. It’s been fun to watch them progress as missionaries and now have them help me in my responsibility. We worked with them in Parque Amazonia, one of my old areas. It was cool to be back after almost a whole year! Time flies, nossa (wow).

We didn’t get much done in Patos this week, but yesterday, Sunday, I was really happy. Maria Helena was confirmed and is doing great (she offered a great prayer at the end of our gospel principles class). Edson (o Butina) bore his testimony in testimony meeting and received the Aaronic Priesthood (Presidente Sa, one of the mission counselors, was present and commented on how much his testimony had touched him). I love being a missionary and am so grateful I am here in Brasil. Amo voces (I love you)!

Elder Anderson

Henderson (who took the selfie) is an awesome member here who took some pics of us as we played volleyball today

Divisão (Exchange) com os APs, E. McBride e E. Gorman!

 I took a similar picture almost a year ago in the exact same spot when I was in Pq. Amazônia. #FORTE kkkk

 At the lan house!

 Elder Graff!
 Reunião de Liderança

 A great view of Patos and a good representation of the city: hills, corn, and Catholicism
 A long range view of the center
 Um pé de goiaba (literally translated: A guava foot; real meaning: a guava tree kkkk)
 Comendo goiaba!

 It's a pretty interesting fruit
 Uma acerola gostosa